The Benchmark Series: Video advertising on mobile

MEDIA RELEASE                    
                                                                                                                                                       Thursday, February 22nd, 2018


Groundbreaking research from respected marketing science academic Professor Karen Nelson-Field has uncovered new insights into how and why video advertising works for brands when viewed on mobile devices.

The highly-anticipated ‘mobile edition’ of Professor Nelson-Field’s ongoing Benchmark Series, commissioned by ThinkTV, makes a number of significant findings that are designed to help advertisers and their agencies get the best out of video advertising.

Professor Nelson-Field used bespoke A.I. machine-learning technology and eye-tracking software to minimise human bias in her team’s data gathering, which is explained below* and here, in these short videos.
Benchmark Series Methodology in 2 minutes
Benchmark Series Methodology in 4 minutes

The latest tranche of the Benchmark Series seeks to compare the sales impact and attention generated by video advertising viewed on mobile devices on Facebook, YouTube, and TV (over Broadcaster Video-On-Demand services).

It found that:

  1. Advertisements viewed on mobile devices by consumers of Facebook, YouTube and Broadcaster Video-On-Demand (BVOD) all generated a positive sales impact for brands.
  2. On mobile devices the sales impact of BVOD is nearly 3x greater than Facebook and 1.6x greater than YouTube***.
  3. The sales impact of TV outperforms Facebook and YouTube irrespective of screen.


Sales Impact

  • Using the well-established metric of short-term advertising strength or STAS** to measure the impact an advertisement has on sales, the research found that the sales impact for BVOD on mobile devices was 1.6x greater than YouTube and nearly 3x greater than Facebook***.


  • The same pattern carried for attention, which Professor Nelson-Field scored out of 100 based on the results of eyetracking measurements. On an aggregate of these measures, BVOD scored 63 points out of 100. That was 9 points higher than Facebook, which scored 54, and 19 points higher than YouTube, which scored 44.

TV wins on every measure

  • Professor Nelson-Field found that the sales impact of TV outperformed YouTube and Facebook irrespective of screen. So TV, whether viewed on a TV screen, computer or mobile device, delivered a significantly stronger result than both Facebook and YouTube on those platforms’ best performing screen, mobile.

Screen Coverage

  • The study found that screen coverage (the percentage of a screen occupied by an ad) was highly correlated to attention and sales, in line with previous findings from the Benchmark Series. On this measure, TV, at 100% screen coverage, provided almost four times more screen coverage than Facebook and three times more screen coverage than YouTube, which Professor Nelson-Field identified as one of the key reasons for TV’s ability to have the most impact on sales.


  • Professor Nelson-Field explained that because mobile screens tend to be held closer to the viewer’s eyes their peripheral vision adjusts to the screen proximity, which means that passive viewing on mobile is worth more to sales than passive viewing on other devices. (N.B. Professor Nelson-Field did not investigate other factors in advertising success such as the impact of reach and reach velocity.)

Professor Karen Nelson-Field said: “In the first tranche of the Benchmark Series when we measured YouTube, Facebook and TV on PC, as well as TV on the TV set, we could clearly see why certain platforms drive higher levels of attention and greater levels of advertising impact than others. And in simple terms this is about visibility.

“Now with mobile devices increasing in importance for video viewing, we can see that ALL platforms benefit from the lean-in viewing experience. Of course, as we predicted, those with better inherent ad visibility still benefit more.”

Kim Portrate, Chief Executive of ThinkTV, said: “This study takes the Benchmark Series a stage further; digging into the fast-growing world of mobile. It proves video advertising on mobile screens works on all of these major platforms – as more people lean in to their content choices – but it also shows that not all media is equal on mobile.

“BVOD and live-streaming TV services are growing rapidly as consumers choose to access TV anywhere anytime, and that trend is great news for advertisers. Not only is TV on mobiles and tablets the ultimate attention grabber, and sales impactor, it is adding fresh opportunities for advertisers to target specific audiences and is the perfect complement to the unrivalled reach velocity of TV watched on the TV set in the home.”

Steve Weaver, Director of Research, Insights and Education at ThinkTV, said: “There are two key lessons from the latest round of findings. The first is that mobile generates good sales impact for all platform providers, which is great for the whole industry. But secondly, TV broadcaster online video inventory has come out tops, providing very clear direction for the ad industry of the effectiveness of broadcaster content on mobile as a more effective alternative to Facebook and YouTube and as the perfect partner to the unbeatable reach speeds of TV on the big screen.”

Professor Nelson-Field will unveil results from the mobile edition of The Benchmark Series at Future TV Advertising Forum on February 22 in Sydney.

*What was the Methodology?
Using bespoke A.I. machine-learning technology and eye-tracking software, 2583 Australians were exposed to 18,219 advertisements under natural viewing conditions in the home. Respondents were then tasked to go shopping in an online shopping mall, where they were able to consider up to 38,745 different brands including the ones they were exposed to in the study’s advertising. Called ‘Discrete Choice Modelling’, this approach is widely used and is academically-validated as the most accurate way to reveal consumers’ actual choice of brand as opposed to mere intention to buy. For more on methodology see explainer videos here, which can be embedded into stories Benchmark Series Methodology in 2 minutes, Benchmark Series Methodology in 4 minutes.

** How is STAS measured?
STAS is the acronym for Short-Term Advertising Strength. STAS is calculated by determining the proportion of category buyers who bought a specific brand having not been exposed to that brand’s advertising, and comparing this to the proportion of category buyers who were exposed to advertising and went on to buy the brand. A STAS score of 100 indicates no advertising impact in that those who were exposed to the advertising were just as likely to purchase as those who were not. A score above 100 indicates that the advertising had an impact on sales.

*** Correction from original release which understated BVOD’s sales impact on mobile devices as 33% higher than Facebook and 17.5% higher than YouTube.


For Media enquiries:
Dominic White 0439 269 615

About Professor Karen Nelson-Field
As head of Professor of Media Innovation at the University of Adelaide, Karen is globally recognised as an innovator in media research. Her work has been referenced by the likes of Forbes, Fox Business, Bloomberg Business and AdAge, and her book, Viral Marketing: The Science of Sharing, is a best seller in its category. Karen was awarded the NewsCorp ‘Women in Innovation’ award in 2014 & 2015 and has also received the Telstra Business Women’s Award for ‘Business Innovation’.

About ThinkTV
ThinkTV Pty Ltd is a dedicated research-driven, marketing and technology development company focused on helping the advertising and marketing community get the very best from commercial TV. From understanding how audiences engage with TV to celebrating advertising creativity, ThinkTV leads a collective effort to demonstrate how advertising in broadcast-quality content environments provides the greatest return on investment. Think TV was formed in May 2016 with founding members Nine Network, Seven Network, Network Ten and Multi Channel Network/Foxtel. @ThinkTV

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